“The visual exploitation of shape ambiguity is an integral part of thinking with images. Designers do not know what exact shape will emerge but they do know how to manipulate shape ambiguity and transform images in order to obtain a desired form."

(Oxman, 2002)


Goal of the Project

How can exploration of shape, form and geometry define character design in animation and illustration? To find out we follow the escapades of a fantasy delivery company trying to survive in an evolving world. Looking at this from the perspective of a solo 2d animator, it aims to highlight the key elements of character design necessary to consider when creating a character intended for animation, tapping into the wealth of an animator’s tacit knowledge to develop functioning form and interesting aesthetic. Ideally this information should help both the novice and educated practitioner when moving from one medium to another by making this implicit knowledge more explicit.


This project takes the form of an extended 2D animated opening title which explores the world lore and crew of the Fantastic Express. The first half of this year long project focused on character design and refinement, looking at how shape influences character traits and working off some prior knowledge of how these forms might work in animation. The end of this section created story boards and an animatic to demonstrate the desired outcomes for the animation. 


Following this the second half was the creation of the animation itself. The first was the creation of pencil tests and the draft of scenes, these were key in determining the changes need to the characters design to better suit the animation itself.